The FFCRA provides for sick leave and family leave refundable credits against the self-employment tax. The sick leave credit provision for self-employed individuals allows an income tax credit for a qualified sick leave equivalent amount. The qualified sick leave equivalent amount equals the number of days (up to 10) that the self-employed individual can’t perform services and would have been entitled to receive paid sick leave under the EPSLA if he were an employee, multiplied by the lesser of two amounts, based on the circumstance of the leave. The credit is limited to the lesser of 100% of average daily self-employment income, or $511 per day if the self-employed individual is (1) subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19; (2) advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to coronavirus concerns; or (3) experiencing coronavirus symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis. The credit is limited to the lesser of 67% of average daily self-employment income, or $200 per day for a self-employed individual who is caring for another individual described in item 1 or 2, caring for a son or daughter whose school or place of care is closed or child care provider is unavailable, or because the self-employed individual is experiencing a “substantially similar condition” specified by the government. The family leave credit provision for self-employed individuals allows an income tax credit for a qualified family leave equivalent amount. The qualified family leave equivalent amount equals the number of days (up to 50) that the self-employed individual can’t perform services and would have been entitled to receive paid leave under the EFMLEA if he were an employee, multiplied by the lesser of 67% of average daily self-employment income, or $200. The credits for self-employed individuals apply only to days occurring during the period beginning on April 1, 2020.
If you have a business loss in 2018, 2019, or 2020, you can now carry-back that loss up to 5 previous years to offset income in those previous years (i.e. apply for a refund of tax paid).
A refundable payroll tax credit is available for 50% of wages paid by eligible employers to certain employees during the COVID-19 crisis. The credit is available to (1) employers, including nonprofits, whose operations were fully or partially suspended due to a COVID-19-related shut-down order and (2) employers whose gross receipts declined by more than 50% when compared to the same quarter in the prior year. The credit is based on qualified wages paid to employees. For employers with an average number of full-time employees during 2019 greater than 100, qualified wages are wages paid to employees when they are not providing services due to the COVID-19-related circumstances described earlier. For eligible employers with an average number of full-time employees during 2019 of 100 or less, all employee wages qualify for the credit, whether the employer is open for business or subject to a shut-down order. However, wages do not include those taken into account for purposes of the (1) payroll credits for required paid sick leave or required paid family leave under the FFCRA or (2) employer credit for paid family and medical leave (IRC Sec. 45S). In addition, no credit is available with respect to an employee for any period for which the employer is allowed a work opportunity credit under IRC Sec. 51 with respect to that employee. The credit applies to the first $10,000 of compensation, including health benefits, paid to an eligible employee after March 12, 2020 and before January 1, 2021. The Secretary of the Treasury is granted authority to advance payments to eligible employers and to waive applicable penalties for employers that do not deposit applicable payroll taxes in anticipation of receiving the credit. The credit is not available to employers receiving Small Business Interruption Loans (CARES Act Sec. 2301).
This new provision enables employers to provide a student loan repayment benefit to employees on a tax-free basis. An employer may contribute up to $5,250 annually toward an employee’s student loans, and the payment will be excluded from the employee’s income. The $5,250 cap applies to both the new student loan repayment benefit as well as other educational assistance (such as tuition, fees, and books) provided by the employer under current law. (such as under IRC Sec. 127.) The provision applies to any student loan payments made by an employer on behalf of an employee, whether paid to a lender or to the employee, after the CARES Act’s March 27, 2020 enactment date and before January 1, 2021. To prevent a double benefit, student loan repayments for which the exclusion is allowable cannot be deducted under IRC Sec. 221 (the limited deduction provision for student loan interest)
If your retirement plan rules allow, the CARES Act waives the 10% early withdrawal penalty for distributions up to $100,000 from IRAs and defined contribution qualified retirement plans [such as 401(k) plans] made for coronavirus-related purposes on or after January 1, 2020 and before December 31, 2020. Income attributable to these distributions will be subject to tax over three years, and the taxpayer may recontribute the funds to an eligible retirement plan within three years after receipt without regard to that year’s cap on contributions. Additionally, defined contribution plans are permitted to allow plan loans up to $100,000, and repayment of existing plan loans is extended for employees who are affected by the coronavirus. A coronavirus-related distribution is any distribution made to an individual (1) who is diagnosed with COVID-19; (2) whose spouse or dependent is diagnosed with COVID-19; or (3) who experiences adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, furloughed, laid off, having work hours reduced, being unable to work due to lack of child care due to COVID-19, closing or reducing hours of a business owned or operated by the individual due to COVID-19, or other factors as determined by the IRS.
Non-itemizers can deduct $300 of charitable contributions (of money only) on their 2020 tax return even if they don’t itemize